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Lung Cancer Symptoms: What You Should Know

Lung cancer, one of the most common and serious types of cancer, claims more lives each year than colon, prostate, ovarian, and breast cancers combined. The disease often does not present noticeable symptoms in its early stages, which makes early detection a challenge. However, being aware of the signs can lead to an earlier diagnosis, potentially saving lives.


Understanding Lung Cancer

Before we dive into the symptoms, it's essential to have a basic understanding of lung cancer. Lung cancer begins in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain. Cancer from other organs also may spread to the lungs. When cancer cells spread from one organ to another, they are called metastases.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): The most common type, accounting for about 85% of cases.
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): A more aggressive form of lung cancer, which spreads quickly and accounts for about 10-15% of diagnoses.

Early Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Early detection of lung cancer can dramatically improve the effectiveness of treatment. Here are some early symptoms to watch out for:
Persistent Cough: A cough that does not go away after two or three weeks or a chronic cough that gets worse over time can be a sign of lung cancer.
Changes in Breathing: Shortness of breath or wheezing could be a signal that something is blocking or narrowing your airways, potentially indicating lung cancer.
Chest Pain: Pain in the chest, shoulders, or back that does not go away and may worsen with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
Repeated Respiratory Infections: Frequent infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can be associated with lung cancer, as the cancerous growth can block airways, leading to infection.
Advanced Symptoms of Lung Cancer: In advanced stages, lung cancer may cause additional symptoms. These include:
Coughing Up Blood: This can range from a small amount of blood to larger, more noticeable amounts.
Voice Changes: Hoarseness or a change in the voice can be linked to lung cancer affecting nerve pathways.
Unexplained Weight Loss: Losing weight without changes to your diet or physical activity level can be a sign of lung cancer. Bone Pain Pain in the bones, especially in the back or hips, might indicate that lung cancer has spread to these areas.

Risk Factors and Prevention

While anyone can develop lung cancer, several factors can increase your risk:

  • Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer.
  • Exposure to radon gas, asbestos, and other carcinogens.
  • Family history of lung cancer.

Preventive measures include quitting smoking, reducing exposure to known carcinogens, and undergoing regular screenings if you're at high risk.

When to See a Doctor

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if you're at higher risk for lung cancer, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional. Early detection and treatment can significantly impact the outcome.


Lung cancer can be a devastating disease, but awareness and early detection can make a significant difference. Paying attention to your body and consulting with a healthcare provider when you notice something amiss can help catch lung cancer in its early stages, where treatment is most effective. For comprehensive lung cancer treatment in India, American Oncology Institute is recognized as the top multi-disciplinary oncology hospital known for its expertise and advanced care.